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Hydrant showers downtown

Officials estimate between 50,000 and 100,000 gallons were spilled Tuesday

Posted: March 24, 2009 11:20 p.m.
Updated: March 25, 2009 6:00 a.m.

A breached fire hydrant launched thousands of gallons of water into the air after it was knocked over by a black jeep Cherokee at the intersection of Newhall Avenue and 8th street in Newhall.

A woman driving a black Jeep Cherokee collided with a fire hydrant Tuesday at the intersection of Newhall Avenue and 8th street, sending a geyser of water shooting hundreds of feet into the air for more than 30 minutes.

“The driver was going southbound on Newhall Avenue, made a turn on westbound 8th Street, lost control of the vehicle and struck the fire hydrant,” said Deputy Rob Tunnell, of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. It was a single vehicle, single-driver collision, he said. No injuries were reported.

The car separated the fire hydrant from its pipes and remained lodged over the pipes as water drenched the sidewalk and gushed in foot-high torrents down Newhall Avenue toward Lyons Avenue.

Newhall County Water District workers responded quickly to save water but encountered difficulties in squelching the flow.

“We got a call that a car hit a fire hydrant and it took us awhile to shut it off because the vehicle was parked on top of the valves for the water mains,” said district Superintendent Josh Gilliam. “We had to shut down the city block.”

Gilliam estimated the breached hydrant spilled 50,000 to 100,000 gallons of water onto the street.

“I’ll have a better idea how much was lost when we talk to the Sheriff’s Department and they tell us when it was hit,” he said.

Newhall resident Magie Gonazalez, 22, heard the collision and ran out of her house to witness the water’s initial breach from the hydrant.   

“It was just shocking,” Gonazalez said. “I came out here when she hit (the hydrant) and the water expanded all the way to the top.

The woman was so shocked. It was weird.”

Although vehicle collisions with fire hydrants are rare, they still happen, said water worker Frank Martinez.

 “We just respond,” he said.


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